In a nail-biting back and forth game against No. 22 Johns Hopkins women’s lacrosse team this Saturday, it was a freshman that boosted the Quakers to victory.
Fresh off a stellar college debut with one goal and three assists, freshman Zoe Belodeau took it to an even further level on Saturday. The rookie led Penn with four goals, including one to break a tie with only 52 seconds left, carrying the Red and Blue to a wild 12-11 win.
The Red and Blue's speed was crucial in the battle against the Blue Jays (3-1) on a rainy afternoon. With standout performances from Belodeau, senior captain Alex Condon, and sophomore Erin Barry, the Quakers (2-0) had their all-stars in and ready for action.
But the whole way, Johns Hopkins pushed back against the Quakers defensively, never quitting in a game that featured five lead changes.
“Johns Hopkins is a very scrappy team," Belodeau said. "They’re really aggressive on ground balls, on backing up shots. They drive really hard to goal.”
With seven minutes left in the game, it was Condon who scored her second goal of the day to break the tie and give the Quakers a 10-9 lead. The match was far from over, however, as Johns Hopkins' Nicole DeMace scored to tie it up just two minutes later.
Tensions on both sides were rising in the later minutes, with everyone in the stands getting anxious. The crowd was rallying for the Quakers, but another score by the Blue Jays with four minutes left put them ahead, 11-10.
As the clock ticked down, the pressure was on. However, the Quakers did not waver and tied it up yet again to ensure themselves a chance in the game from a free position shot by senior Caroline Cummings.
Following a turnover by John Hopkins, Penn had the ball downfield with one minute left. That's when Belodeau stepped up and scored the crucial game-winning goal off a Cummings pass to give the Quakers the heart-stopping 12-11 win.
One of the program's biggest takeaways from the first two games is how much of an impact player Belodeau has been as a freshman. The rookie has managed to make her mark in the lineup immediately, leading the team with eight points.
“I mean, I have my shaky moments, but we have the team to back us up, so it’s really exciting," she said. “I look forward to the high competition that we’re going to face.”
With the win under their belts, the Quakers have a lot to look forward to this upcoming season. Having been shocked in the first round of last season's NCAA Tournament, Penn is motivated to compete for a lot more than its 11th conference title in the last 12 seasons.
“We have high goals you know, we want to win the Ivy League, we want to win the Ivy Championship, we want to go deep into the NCAA tournament” coach Karin Corbett said.
The team’s drive and passion this season is what makes them a force to be reckoned with. With Belodeau and fellow rookies Abby Bosco and Laura Crawford joining the strong returning cast from last season, Penn is confident that its arsenal of talent can carry it far.
“We have a lot more fire power," Corbett said. "[We have] a lot more kids who can put the ball in the net."
Penn's schedule of strong opponents will only continue next week. The Quakers' next foe will be Big 10 opponent Rutgers on Wednesday at 6:30pm on Franklin Field.